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SEPTEMBER 25, 2000 VOL. 156 NO. 12

TIME 100: The Next Wave
Who's cool in a hot medium.
By ADAM COHEN


visit time.com/innovators

To anyone living through it, this is the year in which dotcoms turned into dotbombs. Read your high-tech stock portfolio and weep. But the day will come when the pang of Amazon.com's 51% swoon and the demise of content sites such as Word.com will be seen a lot differently. Jean-Paul Sartre once said history could be viewed as if one were looking out the back of

a moving car: all the nearby scenery is a blur that starts to come into focus somewhere down the road. On the info highway, things move even faster, but with every passing kilometer, the promise of cyberspace becomes clearer. The year 2000 will turn out to have been a pivotal moment in the emergence of the Internet, a Darwinian shake-out in which the fittest inhabitants of cyberspace survived and thrived.

The Internet will entertain us in fantastic new ways. When cyber moviemaking hits its stride, using broadband technology to become truly interactive, this year's Hollywood blockbuster will look as benighted as the first fumblings of the Lumiere brothers in fin-de-siecle Paris. When e-commerce is perfected, shopping malls and mail-order catalogs will have the antiquarian feel of the Greek agora. As we have seen this year with the introduction of new wireless protocols and devices, the Net is becoming increasingly portable. Old-style notions of geography—being out of touch or off the grid—will seem like a relic from another age.

Moore's Law famously holds that every 18 months, the power of the microchip doubles. But the people we have chosen for this month's chapter of innovators—six Internet pioneers who toil in fields as far flung as the sociology of identity and the delivery of ice cream by bicycle—demonstrate that there's a human corollary: our ability to harness technology in creative ways is something that increases just as rapidly.

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